#30 Days Trying To Find Joy Challenge – Day 1

Thursday, March 5th, 2020 9:45pm – First Entry, Rambling Introduction

I write every morning, about 5:00 am-ish with my morning coffee. I use a pen and a sketchbook. Long-hand is the right word. I tend to like cheap pens, Bic blue preferably, with a red one around just in case I choose to draw hearts or arrows or who knows what. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager.

There was a time when I was trying to post some of those entries and I got a lot of great feedback. There really is something personal and intimate about reading someone’s journal, right? And when it’s hand-written and so unique to that person, it feels even more real. But, when I did share those posts, it was hard because I’d have to re-write what I wrote and then it was clouded somehow by the idea that I was “writing for the blog” sort of speak. Something just felt so inauthentic. And, it was hard. It became a chore.

I don’t want to do that anymore. So, I’ve stopped sharing those outright entries. My morning journals are my private therapy for sure and maybe someday they’ll be shared with the world, but hopefully not. They aren’t very good after-all, just my random thoughts, while I’m drinking coffee and I’d love to think I’m brilliant when I’m writing, but eeeh, I’ve re-read some of that stuff and I’m positive, uhem, no. Not brilliant at all. In fact, it’s just gibberish most days. Venting about whatever, swooning over whomever and maybe, if I’m having a pretty fantastic day, something creative worth remembering to recreate later in my next book or something. But honestly, most days, yeah, nothing…

So, what am I doing? Why am I writing at 10pm at night on my blog and just basically riffing on a blank page? Well, I’ve come up with an idea — nothing too grand, but I want to write about my day for the next 30 days and see if I can see a pattern or maybe learn something more about myself. I’m actually not editing at all, not re-reading and not really paying attention to grammar or whatevs. I say all of that, as if in other posts, I pay attention to any of that. I don’t. I suck at grammar, spelling and the like. Can I be honest? As a “writer”, I almost find pride in that. Sucking at all of that and still calling myself a writer. Ha! Truth is, at the end of the day, grammar and spelling is the least important aspect of writing. To me, that’s what an editor is for! But creating a story, engaging a reading so much that they can’t stop from finding out what happens next, THAT’s writing! Well maybe more story-telling. But I’ve met many people who are great at story-telling and horrible at spelling and grammar, but I’ve never met the grand master of grammar and thought they were a gifted writer, orator and story-teller. I’m sure the unicorn of all of it is out there somewhere, but I’m not at all gifted in either, but enjoy the process of story-telling so much that yeah, I’ll keep calling myself a writer even if my spelling and grammar sucks big time! Ha!

It’s so late and I’m just rambling. I am. I’ve decided that for the next 30 days, I’m going to just account for my day. There are no rules except that I write something on this blog for the next 30 days, every day. My honest hope is to see if I can recognize any patterns and/or make any changes to just make life a little easier. At the very least, like I posted above I hope to find something positive in the day.

Life’s been difficult for quite a while in so many ways. I assume it’s what most people are going through, but keeping my spirits up and keeping myself on-point and engaged has been paramount. This is the next step. I need to account for my day and although I was doing it on my calendar it just isn’t the same. If I have to answer TO someone or, in this case, just answer to my nightly blog post, then maybe that will help keep me on-point!

So yes, this is a selfish activity. I’m not sure where it’s going or what it’s for and I have no real rules. Just, I want to write and update my blog for the next 30 days on a regular basis. I can write about anything that’s happened in my day. But other than that, no rules.

Today was a great day in that I went for a 2.5 mile run and then did a great Centr6 workout. I worked a bit today, but was on the phone most of day. My whole food thing was meh today and honestly if I could just conquer the food thing I swear I’d be golden! When I win the lottery the first purchase is a full-time chef. I swear it! I cook for myself and really do a decent job nowadays of eating well, but goodness, I’d love a CHEF’s meal any day over mine! I’m also just not that into cooking for ONE person — so I tend to cook for the week and then am so sick of eating the same thing by the end of the week that I find myself nibbling on other crap. Yeah, today was a bad eating day, again. Tomorrow’s another day. Crossing my fingers.

Other than that, I have nothing more. I interacted with a business colleague today about the possibilities of working for his firm. Kinda cool and not something I was expecting! That may be what’s next in my life — not sure. But it was real nice to talk to him about it anyways. I may be ready to to work for a big firm that does great work in my field. I guess I can go either way, continue my small business and working with individual clients or…yeah, I think I’m ready to move onward. More security maybe? Actually, who knows. But if there’s a firm I’m going to work for, it would definitely be his. He’s a good man and it’s a great company. Eeh, we’ll see. That might be a good thing.

That’s pretty much it. I also wrote down 10 possible podcast topics since I’m going to record something next week with another colleague/friend. Hmm… I may write more about that later. I’m crossing my fingers it goes well tomorrow.

So, that’s it. Boring I know. But I’ll post again tomorrow and maybe, at the very least, it will help me to SEE what work I’ve been doing and what I can improve upon.

Did I help anyone today? Eeeh, maybe, but I can’t remember anything significant. But, at the very least, I kept to my agreement from this morning and posted my evening thoughts exactly. Sorry if you made it this far reading gibberish. But thank you…

Okay, until tomorrow. I’m dead tired. But I’m still excited by the possibilities!

Carmen (PS. I won’t double check anything so please, forgive any and all of it. I’m just riffing here way past my bedtime and just seeing how this goes).

Tell Your Story: How To – The First Part

Tell Your Story: How to – The First Part 20190331_152508

One of the questions that I keep being asked when I share that I just published my first book is… people’s excitement or wish that they could also write their story.

I want to talk a little bit about how I went about writing my story in the hopes that maybe it might motivate other people.  Or let you realize that it’s actually something that can happen and that it’s not that hard.

[Please continue to enjoy the lightly transcribed post below or listen to the podcast here]:  

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Don’t get me wrong, publishing a book is a difficult process and the landscape is changing so much — so the business end of it is a little bit difficult.  But writing your story is the first part.  And everyone has a story to tell!  How you go about sharing that story is kind of what I’m here to talk about.

A few years back I was overwhelmed with the success I had noticed in my life.  And I took a moment and decided to write a letter to all those that helped basically raised me after my mom passed away.

If you know any part of my story, I’ve never known who my father is, so there were a lot of people involved in helping me get through.  That’s what “CANELA” is all about actually.

So I started writing these letters basically to say thank you and in the first letter that I wrote which was to “Jackson”, which is in the book, I explained a very specific period or moment where I realized he had “saved” me.

And I decided to post that one letter on a previous website I had — and the comments,  and the reaction —  was just overwhelming and incredible.  And people started saying,  “…you should write a book…”.

So I took the 12 other letters that I was starting to write – the ideas that I had — and because I wasn’t actually in touch with everyone readily, I just kept writing the letters and I put it aside.

Then I put them in chronological order when I was done.  And then I wove a thread through the entire “chapters” –  through the entire story –  trying to kind of combine them together.

I asked myself:  who would I be sharing this story with if I wanted to tell someone who all these people were?

And then it became a manuscript.

And that’s how the creative process – for me – started and ended.

I then had a manuscript that I needed someone to also read and help me fill in the blanks of the things that I was missing —  because I was so “in it” at the time.  When you’re writing, when you’re creating sometimes you don’t see what other people can see…

So once I was done with the first part of it: which was just getting that story down and getting that thread through it all – I had a friend of mine, read it.  And that helped me to construct other little pieces that needed to be put into the book, into the manuscript at that time.

The purpose of this post is to share with you that there is no right or wrong way to share your story or to tell your story.  And there’s no reason for you not to start trying – even if you just sit down today and write one paragraph of what you think you might want to write about,  that would be the beginning of the process.

Or write a letter to someone telling a certain part of a funny story about what happened to you when you were eleven or last week —  it doesn’t matter —  there is no rule how you choose to start writing,  except that you have to start writing.  Or maybe for you it’s painting, or maybe for you it’s recording something or sculpting something?

I wanted to write this post to kind of take away this idea that it is so hard 20190331_152402and so difficult and that there was something different about how writers go about writing and how other people go about creating.

It is all about sitting down and deciding for yourself that your story should be told!

And so I hope you’ll share with me how you go about that or if you’re going to go about it —  because I would love to learn more about how people go about sharing their story – how you go about the process of writing, or creating in any form, that you choose to do it.  It inspires me!

As always, thanks for stopping by —  have a sweet day.

I’ll be back again real soon!

Carmen

Choices and A Thank You

Listen to the Podcast on “Choices” or read the light transcription below.  

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I have never had a problem making a choice and it’s because making a choice isn’t actually the difficult part.  I know it that sounds a little weird but when I explain it, it will make a little bit more sense.

There’s an incident in the book where I’m a little girl and I’m in the grocery store with my mom.  She gets a little ahead of me and she tells me that I can’t have any candy.  I steal a gumball anyway and plop it in my mouth. And as luck would have it, I start choking on that gumball and end up on the floor choking really hard.  People are starting to gather — I can still see my mother’s face even today.   It’s seared in my head – there is this moment where she turns around and realizes that I’m choking and she doesn’t come running over,  she doesn’t rush or whatever,  but she looks at me with that face of disappointment.  In what may have been a few seconds, I can tell by the way she’s looking at me that this was a consequence of a choice I made.

It was probably the first time I understood what consequences were.  And over time I started to realize that making a choice was never really the problem.   You know if you had a choice “A” versus choice “B” and you’re really conflicted as to which one to choose, you will make whatever choice you need to make depending on how you’re feeling that day, what’s going on in your life – things can change the reasons why we make certain choices. Right?  But the one thing that doesn’t change is your ability to understand what the consequences are for either one of those choices.

And so, that’s what I do on a regular basis.  I did that as a kid —  I did that when I was young —  I would see that there would be choice “A” and choice “B” and I would write down in my head or on paper – I would break down what the consequences were for each.  And even if the consequences were more wrong or cons or bad –  but I wanted to make that choice anyway for whatever reason —  I was never surprised by what happened after I made that choice.

So the thing about understanding consequences is it does a few things:  1) it prepares you for the possibility that whatever choice you make, it may become a huge failure.  But in knowing what the possible outcomes may be, you are also not surprised.  Here’s another kind of a side benefit to being able to understand what your consequences are for whatever choices you make:  it takes out a lot of fear.  People always ask me, “Carmen how did you move to California not knowing anybody and on your own and not having any connection…”.  People always ask these questions and I really don’t do anything haphazardly. I’m pretty much a control freak.   Part of having that control is understanding what the consequences are to any choices I make.  And when I have those consequences, and I understand what the possibilities may be on the downside, I can fly!  I can leap with both feet because I will land — I will land regardless and I will pick up the pieces if it fails.  Nine times out of ten it doesn’t fail and it doesn’t fail because I have taken control of the situation by understanding consequences.

I hope that makes some sense.

I wanted to share that because it’s come up a lot and it’s going to be part of my talk and conversation I’m having at a speaking event in 2019.  But I hope that helps.  I hope it gives people something to think about.  Again, if you have any questions or you want to leave comments, thank you so much…

I wanted to say something else now that I’m back podcasting. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has bought my book, CANELA.  I have not done any publicity whatsoever except to share it with my friends on facebook and a couple of posts I’ve put here on my blog.  I am shocked by how many people have read the book and how many people have sent me emails and questions and praise… I’m so grateful for that.  It really kind of touches me, everyone’s perspective and everyone’s ideas.  It’s been a little bit overwhelming.  I was surprised by how much people are understanding this book and are connecting to it. And as much as I write down all my consequences, I wasn’t prepared for, well, all the love. That’s what I’ll say. It’s been a beautiful thing.

If you have an idea for a book, or you always wanted to write a book or you’re thinking of writing a book, I really encourage you to do it.  It really has been life changing for me. Now that it’s done and it’s out there, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Please, keep writing, keep creating.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it always.

I’ll be back again soon. Have a sweet day.

Carmen

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Music – “Prelude No. 23” by Chris Zabriskie

 

My First Book Published! Yes!

My First Book CANELA has finally been published!  I’m so excited. 

Yesterday was an AMAZING day. My book has finally been published and it’s available now on Amazon.com as an e-book and as a paperback.

(For an excerpt visit:  carmensuarez.com/canela/)

I wanted to share that with everyone!

I’m not some great writer.  I’m not even the most brilliant storyteller – but my story is interesting, and probably not so much the norm.  My point in writing these true stories, is to remind us that who we are in the world and how we treat each other, mattersWe matter to each other.  And sometimes we don’t even realize it.  

Every person I talk about in the book is someone who changed the way in which my life manifested after I lost my only parent.  I ended up in some interesting, dangerous predicaments as a child and yet, I can say that I had the best childhood.  I should’ve been a statistic – in a bad way – and instead I had a really great life and became “successful” because of these amazing people I met along the way. We need to be reminded that who we are matters — not just to ourselves and our families, but to each other. Every day. With everyone we interact with.  When we do something, when we say something —  when we are our best selves, we can change a persons life for the better.  That’s what happened to me.

I hope you’ll read the book. Let me know what you think.  Please don’t be too harsh!   Either way, I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog –  “my creative space” and that you’ll consider wandering over here again some time soon.

Thank you for stopping by.

Carmen

 

A Few Things I Learned Finishing My Manuscript

Yes!  I finished my first manuscript.  But I learned a few things I hope to remember for next time.  

WRITER’S EXHAUSTION.  I didn’t experience writer’s block, but I did experience writer’s exhaustion.  I could write and write and write, but I knew it wasn’t any good. I’d get upset, put myself down – all the things we do as creatives.  Eventually I figured out it was like anything else.  When I was a dancer, sometimes I would just go over something so many times and I’d still not get it right no matter how hard I tried.  My coach would finally stop me and just say, “Let’s call it a night Carmen and try again in the morning.” And although I’d be disappointed, I got permission to stop.  I’d go home, rest, eat, and come back the next day to try again – generally in a better space.  More times than not, I’d perform the dance step with no problem at all.  For me, writing functions the same way.  Sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to stop.  Rest.  And then go back to it in the morning.

KNOW HOW YOU WORK.  It took me a while to understand this, but I can’t create under duress.   There are so many people who work well under pressure, thrive under tragedy, who can multi-task, work 50 hours a week, raise three kids, volunteer at an animal shelter, while dealing with some personal health issue AND write a book at the same time.  Not me. I just don’t do well unless everything else in my life is as I need it to be.  And understanding and accepting the kind of artist you are, helps in how you schedule your writing life. I kept trying to cram so many things in my day and when my writing was horrible, I didn’t think it was because I had too much on my plate.  No, I just thought I was a horrible writer.  So, once I realized that wasn’t the case, I made some adjustments:  I stopped acting, doing voice-over work and taking on new clients, just to finish the book.  It’s what I needed to do.  And I’m glad I did.

HAVE PLENTY OF WATERMELON EASILY AVAILABLE.  Or whatever it is you like to munch on. I made the mistake too many times of not having my fridge stocked with everything I might want to eat or drink on a day of writing. Being hungry and trying to write is like being hungry and anything else.  It’s not good. So, watermelon was my best friend this summer.

KNOW WHEN YOU’RE DONE.  I was done with my manuscript about two months ago. But, because I couldn’t stop editing and re-working a story or a character, I didn’t know I was done.  Finally, a good friend of mine just said, “Carm, I think you’re finished.”  He hadn’t read it, hadn’t seen it, he was just pretty sure that for the most part I’d done the hard work.  Now I just needed to embrace that I was finished and move onto the next step.  He was right. Once I realized I was pretty much done, I understood that my own self-editing was probably not helping me anymore and that it was time to go onto the next step – let someone I trust read it.

Who knows what will come of this first book of mine. But, it’s done. And it feels absolutely brilliant!

I wish you all a feeling of accomplishment and joy in whatever it is you’re working on today!

Keep on writin’!

Cheers!